A SPECIALIST police force which guards Britain’s nuclear waste convoys and nuclear power stations is under threat from Tory cuts, Labour warned yesterday.
The government has admitted that a pledge by Chancellor George Osborne to protect police services from further austerity measures does not apply to three specialist forces — the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC), the Ministry of Defence Police and British Transport Police (BTP).
The CNC is responsible for security at nuclear power stations and also for protecting convoys moving radioactive materials between the stations and reprocessing centres.
The MoD Police guard military barracks and installations, including United States bases such as the misleadingly named RAF Menwith Hill in Yorkshire, a communications centre which plays a key role in US worldwide spying operations.
The BTP is responsible for security at railway stations, including on the London Underground. Its duties include counterterrorism and the marshalling of football fans going to and from matches.
Labour shadow Treasury minister Rebecca Long-Bailey put a written question to the government after Mr Osborne pledged in his Autumn Statement to “protect overall police spending in real terms.”
The government responded by admitting that the Chancellor’s commitment applies only to the police forces funded by the Home Office. The BTP, CNC and MoD Police could, therefore, face further cuts.
Ms Long-Bailey said: “It’s fundamentally dishonest for George Osborne to claim he’s protecting police spending when his pledge does not include policing our public transport system, guarding our military or protecting nuclear installations and materials.
“This is deeply alarming, given that the last two terrorist attacks in Britain were in a Tube station and outside a military base, and nuclear facilities are an obvious target. He said he was protecting the police, but he was really just trying to protect himself.”
Last week, BTP officers were among the first on the scene at Leytonstone Tube station after a “terrorist” stabbing.